Lynbrook residents Cara Maloney and Nanette Lavin stood outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza, in New York City, on May 16 wearing Met Gala-inspired outfits for a chance to win a trip to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding in England.
“It sounded like a good idea,” Maloney said. “We wanted to show our kids that anything’s possible.”
To win the contest, Maloney said, they had to dress up for the royal wedding. She and Lavin decided to make outfits based on ones worn at the Met Gala fashion ball in Manhattan in early May. Maloney wore a white dress with a headpiece inspired by Sarah Jessica Parker’s nativity scene headwear at the Gala, and Lavin wore a blue dress with white gloves and a miter with a British flag on it.
They, along with five other contestants, were singled out for their creative outfits. Judges from the “Today Show,” “E! News” and a fashion stylist then gave each of the contestants an envelope and said that whoever had a British flag on their card would win two round-trip tickets to London, a three-night stay at the Milestone Hotel and Residences and an opportunity to attend the royal wedding.
When they opened the envelope, Malone said, they were surprised to see a card with a British flag on it. “It was shocking, but very exciting,” she said. “We both wanted to go.”
But they were not the only ones selected. All of the contestants had British flags in their envelopes. “Every single person has a Union Jack because everybody is going to London with us,” anchor Hoda Kotb announced on the “Today Show” that morning.
The next day, Maloney and Lavin boarded a free flight from Virgin Airlines and arrived in London at 9 p.m. They then traveled to their hotel, where they stayed for the next three days. “It was wonderful because we didn’t have to pay for the hotel or anything,” Lavin joked.
“It was exciting,” Maloney said. “There was a buzz in the air.”
During their time in London, they toured Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace, and learned proper etiquette at an afternoon tea. On May 19, they watched the wedding ceremony and had a chance to snap a few pictures of the bride and groom.
“It was like a fairytale,” Lavin said.
The two friends returned to New York on May 20, and said that they enjoyed their time in London. “It was the trip of a lifetime,” Maloney said. “It was a whirlwind and it was a dream.”